Earlier this week, Harris County voters overwhelming supported a $2.5 billion (with a "b") bond proposal that will fund more than 200 projects designed to keep us and our homes dry the next time a seemingly annual "thousand year storm" hits South Texas.
The bond proposal passed with 86 percent of voters saying yes, let's not have a repeat of the devastation caused by last year's Hurricane Harvey. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, a staunch backer of the proposal, was pleased, and it sounds a little surprised, by the enormous margin of victory.
"The rains of Harvey were unprecedented. The 86 percent vote for the flood bond was the voters’ answer to Harvey. I’ve never seen such broad support for any bond," Emmett said at the time.
As a keen observer of American politics and obsessive viewer of 24-hour cable news (I like when everybody talks at once and behaves like children), I was shocked that anything or anybody can win 86 percent of a vote in our wretchedly divided nation.
Political pop quiz
So, here's a list of historic, mega-power political giants. Your job is to rank them by the percentage of votes each commanded in their most recent election. Clue: One of these figures claimed 100 percent of the vote in 2014. Clue 2: His father once played a round of golf shooting five holes-in-one and 13 birdies. That's a score of 34, which was 38 under par. In case you doubt his scorecard, there were 17 eyewitnesses — all of them his bodyguards.
Back on Planet Earth, rank 'em: Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, West University Place Mayor Susan Sample, U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, and Chairman of the Workers Party of Korea Kim Jong-un. (Answers at bottom.)
My picks for the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament: Emotionally, I'm picking Roger Federer and Sloane Stephens. Financially, I'm taking Rafael Nadal and Sloane Stephens. Can't wait for the quarterfinals, with a potential showdown between Fed and Novak Djokovic.
The Beatles, Mariah, and...
Of course the Beatles hold the record for most No. 1 hits on the Billboard singles chart with 20, and Mariah Carey is second with 18. But we have a new artist in third position. With her latest release "Work" hitting No. 1, Rihanna now has 14 chart-toppers. She was tied with Michael Jackson at 13.
A Carnival in the sky
Look, up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane ... it's the new Carnival Cruise Line's new 128-foot red, white, and blue blimp. The blimp will be airborne over Houston between September 7 and September 9 to promote new year-round Carnival sailings out of Galveston, which start September 23.
Kim Jong-un, 100 percent of the vote in 2014
Fidel Castro, 98 percent in 2008
Ed Emmett, 84 percent in 2014
Susan Sample, 83 percent in 2017
Vladimir Putin, 75 percent in 2018
Sheila Jackson Lee, 74 percent in 2016
Sylvester Turner, 51 percent in 2015